Because they find them to be a relief.
If you send your board members out into the community connecting with important people and asking for advice, they'll usually be very happy.
It's because they don't have to do a long, detailed presentation. And they are not comfortable doing that. They don't feel that they know enough.
They ARE comfortable with the idea of seeking advice and input.
After all, they are the community representatives on the board.
It is totally appropriate for your board members to be asking other community leaders for their best thinking on how to achieve the organization’s goals.
They do not have to present a detailed case for support in order to be effective personal advocates for the cause.
Lots of boards ask me to help them understand what their work really is. I often refer to a list that BoardSource created a few years ago that has become a reference in our sector.
Here's the list. I'll be discussing these responsibilities in my upcoming blog posts. There's lots to talk about here! What do they really mean? How do you implement them?
Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards From BoardSource
- Determine the organization's mission and purpose. It is the board's responsibility to create and review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization's goals, means, and primary constituents served.
- Select the chief executive. Boards must reach consensus on the chief executive's responsibilities and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position.
- Provide proper financial oversight. The board must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.
- Reconfirm Good Cause's vision and mission.
- Reach consensus on what Good Cause wants to do in order to implement its vision and mission in the coming year and in the next 5 years. (broad framework here for the longer time period.)
- Identify strategic directions and set some firm goals around each direction.
- Answer the question: "how will we know if we have been successful?"
- Determine the critical success factors that will make or break the new goals.
- Agree on the board's role in creating success for Good Cause and what each person is committed to doing.
- Set next steps so that the staff can flesh out a complete operational plan for the coming year.